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208                   HISTORY OF PERSIA                  CHAP
Multan; a second corps was ordered to invade the
Panjab, keeping to the foothills of the Himalayas, whifc
the leader himself marched with the main body. Upon
reaching the vicinity of Delhi Tamerlane, anxious to fight
a decisive battle rather than risk the difficulties of a
siege, entrenched himself and assumed the defensive.
By these tactics he entirely deceived Sultan Mahmud,
whose army he defeated, and by this victory secured the
riches of Delhi, which he sacked.
The Campaign against the Mamelukes, A.H. 803 (1401).
—After his return from India Tamerlane, who was now
approaching his seventh decade, might well have rested
on his laurels and deputed to his sons the care of his
widespreading empire; but conquerors, like actors, seldom
retire from the stage. Hearing that Ahmad, the Jalayr
Prince, had returned to Baghdad, the veteran chief made
forced marches into Azerbaijan, distant more than one
thousand miles from Samarcand. Ahmad, to strengthen
his position, put to death various inhabitants of Baghdad
suspected of favouring the enemy, but a rising drove him
out of his capital and he was obliged to take refuge with
Kara Yusuf.
Tamerlane advanced into Asia Minor, and besieged
and took Sivas. After this success he swung south-
wards into Syria, to avenge the murder of his envoy to
Egypt; there Aleppo and Damascus became his prey.
Returning eastwards, he took Baghdad by assault and
marched to Tabriz, where he rested his army.
The Defeat of Bay azid, A.H. 804 (1402).—Tamerlane's
last campaign was perhaps his greatest. In Central Asia,
in Persia, and in India he had encountered no formidable
state ruled by a warlike monarch, and with his large
numbers, perfect discipline, and vast experience, victory
must have become a matter of course.
The Osmanlis whom he was now to meet were
descended from a Turkish tribe which had fled from the
neighbourhood of Merv before the hordes of Chengiz
Khan, and just a century before had founded a mighty
dynasty. The early victories of this warlike people He
outside the scope of this work. It suffices to state that